Remember when I wrote my Life List? Remember when I said I wanted to vacation in Friday Harbor and go whale watching with Livy and SLB? Well, check and check, mofos, because a few weeks ago SLB took some time off and we journeyed north for an idyllic summer vacation.
After a pretty arduous drive and ferry ride with a teething baby (3 teeth came in during our 4 day vacation) we arrived in Friday Harbor just in time for a stroll around town, a delicious meal with a great view, and this sunset from our condo balcony.
Not bad, Friday Harbor.
Not bad at all.
SLB and I vacationed on San Juan Island once before when I was in college and he was preparing to leave for law school, and I'd stayed there a couple of times as a kid during summers when my dad was working and sailing there. So we have a history, San Juan Island and I, and I've been eager to share this with Olivia even if she won't remember it.
There's a lot to like there. For one thing, Roche Harbor literally welcomed SLB with his own dedicated graffiti in once-wet cement.
And, for another thing, people on San Juan Island like their puns and poop jokes. I was among my people at last!
Yep, that's the B-Yacht'ch. And the little boat tied to it is the Baby B-Yacht'ch.
I disapprove of the egregiously unnecessary misspelling, but otherwise I heartily approve!
This was on a porta-potty at the alpaca farm we visited.
And, because San Juan Island is a magical place, it offers two of my other favorite things beyond poo jokes: delicious food to eat and cute critters to look at. Two of the days that we were there we lunched at Pablito's Taqueria, tucked away in a little corner of Friday Harbor. I particularly enjoyed the goat cheese and greens empanada, coffee-braised pork taco, and the chipotle-rubbed rockfish taco, and SLB fell in love with the yam taco. We also liked these ladies, who are on a huge poster above the salsa bar.
They may be wearing maribou pumps, but they WILL kick your taco-eating arse.
We also got dinner from Market Chef two nights in a row to eat after Olivia went to bed. There is a reason why this humble little deli-style eatery is ranked #1 on Trip Advisor's list of Friday Harbor restaurants. The food is delicious and the service is friendly and warm. We became particular fans of the macaroni and cheese, barbecued shortribs, crab cakes, roasted vegetables, and beet salad, and their key lime pie is wonderful despite their assertion that they "really don't do desserts." After wrestling Olivia into her much-hated Pack-n-Play for bed, we were grateful to Market Chef for making dinner for us.
I lost one game by forfeit because I was playing drunkenly and wasn't pleased with my lack of precision and panache. Otherwise, rest assured that I am still SLB's Scrabblemommy.
Our last dinner on San Juan Island was a special one that miraculously took place outside of our condo. We got brave and ordered up a babysitter from Island Sitters (Ask for Rina, who 1. was fantastic with Olivia and, 2. will totally talk shit about her friends' trashy tattoos when you stumble home from dinner tipsy and chatty) and enjoyed a lovely meal at Duck Soup Inn. I had what is easily the most perfectly cooked salmon I've ever encountered in all my years of Northwesty salmon eating. It was pan seared to perfection - delicately crispy on the outside and silkily yielding just beneath the brittle crust. This was matched with a luxuriously creamy polenta, roasted corn, and pickled cucumber ribbons, and, oh my friends, what a treat it was. I will urge you to try any savory dish on the menu, but DO NOT F* AROUND WITH DESSERT. Go big, go bold, or go home. SLB's hearty chocolate-banana layer cake was ironically flawless in its rustic imperfection, but my hoity-toity nectarine-buttermilk ice cream was a real disappointment. This is a homey place, so eat homey, homies.
We didn't just eat on this trip, although that might be hard to believe from the previous paragraphs. We spent a lot of time during the days wandering the island with Livy and seeking out beautiful views and wildlife. The views were much easier to capture on film, but we saw and got only a few crappy pictures of DOZENS of orcas, a mama deer and her twin fawns, a harbor seal who splashed us and flirted with us from about a foot off of the dock we were walking on, alpacas at a local alpaca farm, bald eagles, and a camel named Mona who was purchased by a farmer from a petting zoo on Ebay.
After a magical and frustrating afternoon on a whale watching tour trying to capture the magesty of a pod of leaping, frolicking Orcas and their babies, it finally dawned on me that whales just don't say cheese. So be it, whales! I love you regardless, or maybe because of, the difficulty in photographing you! Perhaps if you were more reliable about showing off, though, the littlest of our crew might be more impressed.
I tried pumping Livy up with tales of how we were going to be ADVENTURE LADIES! on the boat, but she didn't buy it. Thanks to SLB for carrying the napping baby while I was an ADVENTURE LADY! by myself.
The alpacas were easier to see and understand, and so they got a better reception from Olivia.
Like big, weird dogs > like big, weird fish